Wednesday, May 21, 2014

a small walk with the kids....fresh air needed

Cowanesque Lake was the site of a short walk with the little ones. We did not have much time and the weather was not cooperating as well. Just enough time to take in some scenery, eat some peanuts and such, and move on down the line.

The geese had been using the path as a bathroom for the past few days. Woody Guthrie would have called it some "hard travelin".

Not sure why I placed these two pics of Clare in....just thought they caught her spirit.

The eagle was the hit of the day. Kids watched for quite a while. There is something about large birds of prey that have always caught my attention.
If I was a better photographer, I'd be one of those nuts who sits in the tree or hangs on the cliff all day to get the ultimate shots of these amazing creatures.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

mort's meat mafia

I am still not sure of the person I designed this for but it has to do with someone who knows my wife's best friend (his name might be Mort). He wanted a cow, pig and chicken designed into a logo for his new venture, Mort's Meat Mafia. I googled this idea and found that it had been done about a billion different ways. Three animals and the concept of meat, well done! It has been tweaked and twisted and designed over and over. The problem is that it is kinda necessary. You can't just show one of these animals or it gives the audience a much different perception about the product(s). I really didn't know how to bring my own spin on this universal concept. I decided to lead the design toward a more simple end by just giving a cleaver some type. 

I used some inked Styrofoam to get the cleaver and chopped out the hand drawn lettering via Photoshop. Love the natural texture that ya get from Styrofoam. Never gets old!!! 
This design was liked but still the client wanted those darn animals. "Less is more" was thrown out the window. I drew up some suited animals wearing shades and merged it all together and.....

As individual characters....I kind of like them. That chicken looks like a real killer! unflappable dude! I think I would still prefer the cleaver with about 40 variations of lettering to the one with the animals. It seems like a bit much. Then again, anything that takes away from type is something to rethink in my book. To be honest, I have not had time to ingest it all. Maybe weeks from now I might come around on the whole thing. Sure do like the chicken.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

not so local font find #17

Around age 12, that would be about 1982, I used to watch a channel out of New York City. I think it was WPIX. I could be wrong about this but I'm putting out there anyway. This station would run classic TV programs after school and late at night. Shows like the Honeymooners, Laurel and Hardy, the Three Stooges, Leave it to Beaver, the Odd Couple and the Little Rascals. They were so much better than anything current that might have been playing on other stations. I logged a lot of hours taking in the brilliance of those old shows. Time well spent.

Walking through Walmart (or some such place) the other day, I noticed a Little Rascals DVD in the cheap bin. I picked it up because I thought my children should be subjected to some real quality TV. 

I'm not sure that my kids are old enough yet to appreciate these talented kids. They showed little to no interest in their high jinx. But what I noticed in my matured state was the lettering. GREAT LETTERING ALL OVER THE PLACE! From the intro credits to the hand painted signs on many episodes. I laughed just like I used to but watched carefully for the slightest glimpse of some great type.

A young Spanky was the star of the show. Cute little guy and an amazing voice.

This was a 1934 episode in which this moving truck (below) was moving a family into the "rascals" neighborhood.

Obviously the "W" caught my eye. I quickly got my camera and scanned the DVD back to take these screen shots. I just love the whole side of this truck. The "Wilshire Storage Co." has a great extended 3-D look to the lettering. The dimensional edges look like they might have been a gold color but who knows with the black and white of the screen. Anywho, I sure do like the lettering. 

As a side note, I noticed some amazing lettering on the classic Jimmy Stewart film, The Spirit of St. Louis the other day. He gets out of a cab in California when he is visiting the company that might just build his plane. The door of that cab would be hanging on my living room wall! That might be my next post.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

mansfield university jazz ensemble and the mansfieldians cease and desist cd design

Before I type any further, I'd like to thank Dr. Sheryl Monkelien from the Mansfield University Music Department for giving me the green light to design another CD. It is an honor to work for her/them and to try to capture a mood and design a fitting layout. Their reputation as a talented department is the only inspiration I need when sitting down to work. The student performers they teach are amazing!

It all begins with Dr. Monkelien sending me the information that must fit into the layout and a CD of the tracks. The best part for me is that I am allowed to create what feels right. For the first few days I listen to the CD with my daughter while driving to school. Brainstorming is a constant. Sketching and bothering my wife with possible ideas can last quite a while. All I knew was that I wanted lots of hand drawn lettering...

Nothing has garnered more of my creative attention during the last decade than letters. Lettering is a never ending landscape that is impossible to truly conquer. The learning never stops....the struggles continue....the possibilities keep popping up.

I began with a red theme but accidentally stumbled onto some gray scale distressing while brainstorming in Photoshop. The type just seemed to fit that dark gray.

The most enjoyable part of the design was the track titles. Anywhere from 5 to 20 versions of each were drawn until one looked good next to the others.

insert with cover

The real struggle comes after the general design concept has been established. How do you fit all the information and make it feel like it was meant for that space?

insert (back)

tray card